Presentation on theme: "By Laura M. About 700 years ago, a wandering tribe of Indians wandered into the Valley of Mexico. These people were called the Aztecs. When the Aztecs."— Presentation transcript:
About 700 years ago, a wandering tribe of Indians wandered into the Valley of Mexico. These people were called the Aztecs. When the Aztecs arrived in the Valley of Mexico, other tribes were already in residence. They had already taken the best land. The Aztecs had to make due with the swampy shores of Lake Texcoco. But this did not bother the Aztecs. Not only were they very clever people, but they believed that their main god had sent them to the swampy shores of Lake Texcoco, so obviously this place was perfect for them. They built canoes, so they could fish and hunt birds that lived near the water. They created floating gardens for growing food. They created more land for agriculture by filling in the marshes. They built dikes to hold back the water. After they settled in, they began to conquer the neighbouring tribes. They conquered first one tribe, and then another, and then another. Each conquered tribe had to pay tribute to the Aztecs in the form of food, clothing, jewels, and of course, captives to feed the hungry gods. That made the Aztecs very happy and very rich. The Aztecs expanded and expanded until they had built an empire.
The Aztec nobles had slaves. They were Aztecs. In the Aztec world, there were two ways you could become a slave. You could become a slave as punishment for a crime you had committed. You could be voluntarily sold into slavery to pay family debts. These were the only two ways. The life of a slave was pretty much like the life of a freeman. Slaves could marry other slaves and could even a freewoman. Children of slaves were not slaves themselves. You could not be born into slavery in the Aztec world. It was difficult to get rid of slave once you bought one. If your slave refused to do your bidding, you had to bring your slave to a plaza, and in front of witnesses, prove your slave would not do what they were supposed to do. You could not just do this once. You had to do this three times, using three different acts of refusal. After the third time, you could bring your slave back to the slave market. The slave would then be resold to someone else. A slave had to be sold and resold three times to three different masters before a slave could be sold for sacrifice. Slaves could buy their freedom. All they needed to do was find the money to pay their owner what he had paid to buy them. The Aztecs had another interesting law about slavery. On the way to the slave market, when the slave was about to be sold or resold, if a slave got away and managed to run to the palace without being stopped, that slave was immediately free. The only person who could chase that slave was the master’s son. If anyone interfered with the race, that person became a slave.
The Aztecs are best known for eating chocolate. The Aztecs made a habit of burying their ancestor’s right under and around their houses. Aztecs speak a language called Nahuati. They were short, sturdy people with dark coarse hair. They had a brown skin. The Aztecs Empire was invaded by Hernando Cortez in the year 1519
We all know the Aztecs by that name, but it was not actually a name that they ever called themselves. The Westerners who came up with the name Aztecs likely took it from one of the original places that the Aztecs lived around the twelve century, called Aztlan, which was in the Northern part of Mexico. However, the Aztecs themselves actually referred to themselves as Mexica, which is actually where the name for the country of Mexico originally came from.
While many may attempt to claim that the Spaniards beat the Aztecs through military brilliance, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, the original attacks of the Spanish were thoroughly rebuffed and they had to beat a hasty retreat. The Aztecs actually had a fairly good chance at beating the Spanish and the overall war was a fairly close one. It can be easily said that if not for the smallpox contracted from the Europeans that wiped out so many of them, especially their leaders, that it is extremely unlikely they would have fallen to the Spanish. The amount of harm caused by European diseases was tremendous, it is estimated that over twenty million Mexicans died in a period of just five years due to the diseases brought over by the Spanish.